Firsts By: Laurie Elizabeth Flynn Published: Jan. 5, 2016 Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin Add to Goodreads Source: eARC from publisher in exchange for a honest review GR's Summary:
Seventeen-year-old Mercedes Ayres has an open-door policy when it comes to her bedroom, but only if the guy fulfills a specific criteria: he has to be a virgin. Mercedes lets the boys get their awkward, fumbling first times over with, and all she asks in return is that they give their girlfriends the perfect first time- the kind Mercedes never had herself. Keeping what goes on in her bedroom a secret has been easy- so far. Her absentee mother isn’t home nearly enough to know about Mercedes’ extracurricular activities, and her uber-religious best friend, Angela, won’t even say the word “sex” until she gets married. But Mercedes doesn’t bank on Angela’s boyfriend finding out about her services and wanting a turn- or on Zach, who likes her for who she is instead of what she can do in bed.
When Mercedes’ perfect system falls apart, she has to find a way to salvage her reputation and figure out where her heart really belongs in the process. Funny, smart, and true-to-life, FIRSTS is a one-of-a-kind young adult novel about growing up.
Firsts was a multi-faceted story that wrecked havoc on my emotions. I would classify this story as mature Young Adult or New Adult in genre. Many of the subjects addressed are for a mature audience. This story encompassed so much more that I initially expected, and was difficult for me to read at times.
Firsts is a unique, raw, and powerful story. It is the story of Mercedes "Mercy" Ayres, and told exclusively from her point of view. Mercy lost her virginity at the young age of thirteen, and it was a horrible experience. She doesn't want any other girl to go through what she did. Therefore, she decides to have sex with virgins, and instruct them on how to make a girl's first time special. Mercy let's the guys know that they are to keep it a secret, unless they know of somebody in need of her services.
On the side, Mercy has Zach, her chemistry partner and Wednesday "lunch partner, " who wants more than just sex from her. Her best friend, Angela's boyfriend, wants a shot at her as well. Now, Mercy's life is spiraling out of control, and one thing is for certain, things will never be the same again.
Firsts addressed a multitude of issue's relevant to growing up. It explored the effects of coming from a dysfunctional family, various issues concerning sex and intimacy, as well being bullied by peers. Mercy was a complex character, and I think that teens will be able to relate to her in one way or another.
I enjoyed the cast of characters in this story. My favorite's were Zach, and Mercy's friend Faye. Zach was such a sweet guy, and my heart broke for him. It was obvious that he had strong feelings for Mercy, but she was emotionally unavailable. Mercy was in a lot of emotional pain, and it came through as anger, and the need to be in control of every facet of her life. She didn't know how to deal with her emotions, and her pain came through the pages, as if I was experiencing it firsthand. Faye was a new friend to Mercy, but ended up becoming her most powerful ally. I loved Faye's strength, loyalty, and compassionate understanding concerning Mercy. She was an amazing friend, and supporting character.
I give Firsts, by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn, 4 Emotional, Raw, Complex Layers, Growing Up, and Angst-Filled Stars. It was a story that drew me in, and held my attention from beginning to end. Firsts did an excellent job of making me see what it's like for a teenager growing up in a time where social media is used as an added tool for bullying. I do not envy what teens have to go through in the present time.
Laurie Elizabeth Flynn writes contemporary fiction for young adults. Her debut, FIRSTS, will be published by Thomas Dunne Books/St Martin’s Press on January 5, 2016. Laurie went to school for Journalism, where the most important thing she learned was that she would rather write made-up stories than report the news. She also worked as a model, a job that took her overseas to Tokyo, Athens, and Paris. Laurie now lives in London, Ontario with her husband Steve, who is very understanding when she would rather spend time with the people in her head. Laurie can mostly be found writing happily at her desk, with the world’s most spoiled Chihuahua on her lap. Laurie drinks way too much coffee, snorts when she laughs, and times herself when she does crossword puzzles. Laurie is represented by the amazing Kathleen Rushall of the Marsal Lyon Literary Agency.